The Milwaukee Art Museum Presents Camille Pissarro’s Revolutionary Impressionist Paintings

Posted on February 1st, 2007

Milwaukee, WI, February, 2007— Pissarro: Creating the Impressionist Landscape is coming to the Milwaukee Art Museum June 9-September 9, 2007, and explores Camille Pissarro’s transformation from a traditional landscape painter to a daring pioneer of Impressionism.This exhibition brings together more than forty of the artist’s most beautiful and innovative canvases from major museums and private collections around the world to focus on a pivotal decade of his career, 1864-74. During this brief yet intense period, Pissarro laid the groundwork for an entire generation of painters including Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, and Monet.

Exhibition highlights include Pissarro’s large-scale paintings from the Salon exhibitions of the 1860s and a powerful selection of landscapes seen in the first Impressionist show of 1874. Colorful scenes of the picturesque French countryside show the evolution of Pissarro’s painting technique, palette, and subject matter from a Barbizon-influenced style to a modern one. Works from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Musée d’Orsay, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among others, as well as seldom seen private collections, comprise the exhibition.

Artist. Teacher. Visionary.

Camille Pissarro was born on the island of St. Thomas in 1830 and at the age of twelve, was sent to Paris to attend boarding school. After traveling for a time in Venezuela, Pissarro returned to Paris to continue his study of art at various academic institutions. He studied under a succession of masters, such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet, and Charles-François Daubigny. It was during this time that Pissarro’s style evolved and his signature themes developed.

Pissarro focused on local life: workers in the field, washerwomen, paths, and streams. The subject matter was not nearly as radical as the approach. Pissarro felt that light was inseparable from the object it illuminated, so to capture the light at a precise moment, he worked from direct observation. Pissarro executed this emotive style with bold strokes and delicate applications of color. He studied closely the effects of light, climate, and season to create a style that was distinctly his own; yet, in turn, he set the course for the movement that would later become known as Impressionism.

Pissarro’s departure from the popular, more technically realistic approach to painting held him back from being wholly accepted into the Salon culture in Paris. Rather than conform to the strict Salon aesthetic, Pissarro followed his vision, although unpopular, and pushed the boundaries of conventional painting technique. He began to organize an independent exhibition for those who shared his vision. Pissarro was at the center of the group that included artists such as Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, and Monet. All were to become masters under the tutelage of the artist and exhibited works at the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874. The exhibition was met with disdain and public outrage, which pushed the Impressionists further from the mainstream. There were eight Impressionist exhibitions in total over the succeeding years; Pissarro was the only artist to exhibit in them all. Finally, at the age of seventy-four, Pissarro and the Impressionist movement gained acceptance in the art world.  


This exhibition is organized by The Baltimore Museum of Art and curated by BMA Curator of European Painting and Sculpture Katherine Rothkopf. The Milwaukee presentation of the exhibition is coordinated by Laurie Winters, curator of earlier European art.

Following the Milwaukee presentation, Pissarro: Creating the Impressionist Landscape travels to Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Tennessee (October 7, 2007-January 6, 2008). A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition.  


Presenting sponsors: Wisconsin Energy Corporation and M&I Foundation. Generous additional support provided by the Richard and Ethel Herzfeld Foundation, Friends of Art, Fox 6, Einhorn Family Foundation, Wisconsin Department of Tourism, R.D. and Linda Peters Foundation, Ruth St. John & John Dunham West Foundation, Florence Gould Foundation, an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts. This exhibition is organized and circulated by The Baltimore Museum of Art. 


Tickets are $14 adults, $12 seniors, $10 students, and free for children 12 and under. This ticket includes general Museum admission to the Collection galleries. Group tour reservations and discounts are also available; please call 414-224-3842. To become a Museum Member and receive year-round benefits such as free general admission and complimentary feature exhibition tickets, call 414-224-3284. 


Member Preview Days allow our Members to preview the exhibition before it opens to the public.

Thursday, June 7, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Friday, June 8, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Exhibition Preview Celebration

Thursday, June 7, 5-8 p.m.
$20/Free for Members

Help celebrate the opening of Pissarro: Creating the Impressionist Landscape. Join us for an informative talk on the exhibition and enjoy light appetizers and a cash bar.


Express Talk

Thursdays, June 14-September 6, 11:30 a.m.

Gain a more in-depth understanding of the works on view in the Pissarro: Creating the Impressionist Landscape exhibition during a half-hour Express Talk with exhibition curator Laurie Winters. Three different paintings will be discussed at each Talk. Exhibition ticket is required.

Express Talk – Français

Fridays, June 15, June 29, and July 6, 11:30 a.m.

Join Beatrice Armstrong from the Alliance Français de Milwaukee for an Express Talk in French. Each half-hour talk will focus on three different paintings from the Pissarro: Creating the Impressionist Landscape exhibition. Exhibition ticket is required.

Taking the Mystery out of Pissarro

Monday, June 18, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Curator of Earlier European Art Laurie Winters will speak about the Milwaukee Art Museum’s feature exhibition, Pissarro: Creating the Impressionist Landscape, at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield. Free. Space is limited. Call 262-781-9520 for reservations.


Mixing with the Impressionist Masters

Join us at the Milwaukee Art Museum on the second Saturday of each month this semester for an exciting morning. Each month we will take a close look at a different artist and their painting or sculpture in the galleries, and then create our own work of art reminiscent of that artist’s style!

3 Saturdays: June 9 (Pissarro), July 7 (Monet), August 11 (Renoir)

10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Ages 4-8 (with an adult caregiver)
$25/$20 Member (per session)
Meet the Impressionists Art Camp Students will draw and paint using the works in the Pissarro exhibition and the paintings by Monet and Renoir in the permanent collection for inspiration.

Monday-Friday: July 9-13
Ages 6-10
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
$140/$125 Member
Ages 11-15
1:30-4:30 p.m.
$205/$185 Member


The Milwaukee Art Museum includes the new Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion, completed in October 2001 and named by Time magazine “Best Design of 2001.” The Milwaukee Art Museum’s far-reaching holdings include more than 20,000 works spanning antiquity to the present day. The Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for Thursdays when the Museum stays open until 8 p.m. (supported by Greater Milwaukee Foundation). For more information, visit http://www.mam.org/.

Digital images available upon request.

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